BY JAMES BRIGHT and ADAM TROXTELL
Stephens and Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks confirmed today that the murder of an Australian baseball player in Duncan last week was in no way the crime of gang members.
"This is not gang related," he said.
According to Hicks, gangs generally try stick to specific types of crimes and executions that will not draw the attention of police agencies.
"You have to ask yourself, 'What do gangs do,'" Hicks said. "They deal in drugs, guns or money. They don't commit random acts of violence, because it would draw too much attention."
Should gang activity arise in Stephens County, Hicks said he and other law enforcement officials would meet the challenge with brute force.
"I guarantee you, if there was a gang in Stephens County, we would be breathing down their necks," he said.
Rumors that the crime was perpetrated by members of a gang came to light when Duncan resident James Johnson told local police officers that the three suspects were looking for his son, Chris, and he feared for his life.
Chris Johnson's mother, Sheila Haynes, would not comment on where her son is, but did confirm that he was no longer in the Duncan school system.
Haynes said Johnson would make no further comments on the incident.
As of press time the gun used in the crime had not been found.
Co-owner of the new Interurban restaurant in town, Zach Grayson, said the shooting is something completely opposite of the Duncan he and his business partner, Josh Woods, have come to know and love.
The residence the three suspects in the shooting reportedly came from before the incident is nearby the Interurban location. Being new to the community, Grayson said neither he nor Woods know the people involved very well, but they are acquainted with Lane's girlfriend, Sarah Harper, who works at a nearby country club that has been involved with the restaurant before.
"I do know what has happened is not a representation of Duncan as a whole," Grayson said. "We're proud to be part of this community. The reaction and outpouring of support for the victim and his family in Australia, just the entire community coming together, has been amazing to watch."
Interurban will take part in fundraising efforts to help families involved in the aftermath of the tragedy, Grayson said. On Monday and Tuesday of next week, 10 percent of net profits from the restaurant will be donated to a foundation set up in Lane's honor and to assist the Harper family.